Romanov Birthdays → Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia, November 15

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia was the eldest daughter of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, and his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Just a few months before her birth in 1895, the imperial family was going through a crisis. The Tsar, Nicholas’s father, was dying. Olga’s parents, Nicholas and Alexandra was being propelled onto the throne of Russia much earlier than expected. They married  quickly after Alexander’s death and at just 26, Nicholas became Emperor Nicholas the Second. 

Olga became a big sister four times when her younger siblings followed the next few years. Olga was most often paired with her sister Tatiana. The two girls shared a room, dressed alike, and were known as “The Big Pair”. From her earliest years she was known for her compassionate heart and desire to help others, but also for her temper, blunt honesty and moodiness.

Olga loved schoolwork and enjoyed reading. Margaret Eagar noted that Olga was very bright but said she had little experience with the world because of her sheltered life. She and her sisters had little understanding of money because they had not had an opportunity to shop in stores or to see money exchange hands. When reading a history lesson, she remarked that she was glad she lived in current times, when people were good and not as evil as they had been in the past.

When she was twenty, inspired by her religious upbringing, Olga took control of a portion of her sizable fortune and began to respond independently to requests for charity. One day when she was out for a drive she saw a young child using crutches. She asked about the child and learned that the youngster’s parents were too poor to afford treatment. Olga set aside an allowance to cover the child’s medical bills. Olga trained to be a nurse in the Great War and treated wounded soldiers. At one point during the war after witnessing many men die, Olga became so stressed that she had to give up nursing.

Olga was ill with measles just when their father abdicated the throne. The imperial family was put under house arrest in early 1917. Through the next few months, the imperial family were moved to Tobolsk and to Yekaterinburg. Of all five children, Olga was only the one who knew what the outcome their imprisonment might would have been. According to the Bolsheviks guarding the household in Yekaterinburg, Olga was in low spirits by the time the family was shot.

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